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Messenger Adds New Features for Valentine’s Day, Including Split Bill Payments and Extended Voice Messages

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Messenger Adds New Features for Valentine's Day, Including Split Bill Payments and Extended Voice Messages


Messenger has announced some new features to coincide with Valentine’s Day, including expanded voice messages, voice message previews and split bill payments.

First off, on voice messages – with more people turning to audio as a connection option, Messenger is adding the capacity to preview your voice messages before sending, while it’s also increasing the duration of voice messages from 1 minute to 30 minutes.

That’s a big extension, and again, with more people utilizing audio connection tools, as exemplified by the rise of Clubhouse and similar options, it could prove to be a popular update.

Though audio social tools are a little different, in that it’s a live, two-way exchange. But still, clearly audio messages are being utilized on Messenger, which has prompted Meta to make the move to longer recordings.

So now you can ramble away, as you confess your love on the most romantic day of the year. Just don’t make a mistake 25 minutes into your monologue, otherwise you might come to resent that preview option.

Messenger’s also adding split bill payments in chats, which could come in handy for your Valentine’s dates.

Messenger bill splitting

As you can see in this sequence, you can now request that a total payment amount be split between members of a chat. Messenger will then allocate the required amount to each user, enabling simplified, fee-free bill splitting via the app for those who’ve registered their payment info.

Split Payments is now available in the US on iOS and Android devices. 

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Lastly, Messenger Kids is also getting in on the Valentine’s Day celebration with new artwork and interactive options to help kids join in with the event.

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“Starting today, kids can share virtual valentines with approved contacts using new AR effects, photo frames and sticker packs. Try shooting arrows as baby cupid, dancing around as the Queen of Hearts, or adding a sweet touch with glowing heart cheeks.”

Messenger Kids Valentine's Day features

As you can see here, there are also new frames and Valentine’s Day stickers for Messenger Kids, enabling parents to both revel in how cute their kids are, while also lamenting just how fast they’re growing up.

The new Valentine’s Day features are now available in Messenger and Messenger Kids, with bill splitting, as noted, only available to US users at this stage.



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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

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It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

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  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

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Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

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Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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